Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
A well-maintained thatched roof adds to the desirability of any country-style property. It’s a beautiful and eco-friendly solution that’s seen a comeback in recent times. However, there are times when replacing the thatch roof with tiles will look appealing, but is it possible?
You can replace a thatched roof with tiles. The replacement process will require stripping the old thatch completely to expose the roof timber. In some jurisdictions, thatched houses may be under conservation mandates. Owners have to seek government permission to replace the roof with tiles.
The rest of the article will cover all you need to know about replacing your thatched roof with tiles. Watch out for a cost comparison to help you decide whether to stick with your thatched roof.
Is Replacing a Thatched Roof With Tiles Possible?
Replacing a thatched roof with tiles is possible. Your roof installer will analyze the existing roof structure and devise a plan for the transformation. In most cases, the project will involve stripping the thatch material away, leaving only the roof timber.
You may also need additional framing, as the tiles are heavy.
However, in places like the UK, you can’t replace a thatched roof with tiles if the building is listed. Such structures are under the purview of a designated conservation officer, and any major remodeling projects such as changing the thatched roof to tiles have to be approved first.
Making changes to the few thatched-roof properties in the US is almost always entirely in the owner’s hands. If you have a legitimate reason for thinking about making the change, you can call your roofing installer for a quote.
Why Replace a Thatched Roof With Tiles?
You might want to replace a thatched roof with tiles when legitimate problems such as constant severe weather or loss of structural integrity override any benefits of having a thatched roof on your property.
Some of the common reasons why people choose to move from thatched roofs to tiles include the following:
Improved Durability and Longevity
A high-quality thatched roof can last up to 50 years, but it’s rare to find private properties where the thatched roofing has lasted that long.
Even when you find one, you can be sure it gets a lot of maintenance. On average, you can expect to replace parts of the thatched roof (such as the ridge) every decade.
On the other hand, clay or concrete roof tiles can last up to 30 years without further input from you post-installation.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Following up on the point above, an adequately thatched roof will still need periodic maintenance to stay in shape. Thatch naturally degrades, making it challenging to keep up with repairs. In addition, a substandard maintenance job will provide new issues almost every year.
There’s no telling what the problem will be, from leaks to cave-ins, and each one can cost a fair amount of money to correct.
With clay or concrete tiles, it’s rare to worry about extra maintenance costs after you’ve paid the initial outlay for the installation. When the need for maintenance arises, you can be sure it will be very minimal.
Avoiding Wildlife Damage
Thatched roof attracts birds and other members of the local fauna. Birds pull strands from the thatch to build their nests. Other smaller mammals may also burrow into the roof to build nests or convert your roof into their new home.
Clay or concrete tiles, however, are usually animal-resistant, and you won’t have to deal with missing roofing materials. Nesting birds may still set up camp in any corner of the roof, but they can’t stay put on the center of your roof, protecting you from animal-related damage.
Reduced Insurance Premiums
A home with a thatched roof is a significant fire risk. Granted, spray-on retardants reduce the risk of a fire accident, but on the books of any insurance company, a thatched roof will require higher premiums compared to concrete or clay tiles. A tile roof isn’t fireproof but is far less flammable.
What Is the Cost of Replacing a Thatched Roof With Tiles?
It’ll cost you around $16,000 to $32,000 to replace a thatched roof with tiles depending on the size of the building and the difficulties surrounding the project.
Concrete tiles cost slightly more than clay tiles. You may also need to refurbish the roof frame or strengthen it to hold the tiles. Other factors a contractor may consider before giving you a quote include the following:
- Ease of accessibility. Depending on the size and age of the property, a contractor may need to apply particular health and safety measures to reach all corners of the roof. The project may require the construction of scaffolding. The severity of the situation will most likely influence the final construction cost.
- Your location. You’re sure to get different quotes for a thatched roof conversion in the city center and one in a remote area. Contractors in city centers will charge more than their counterparts in the countryside. You’ll also pay a transportation and logistics premium if you hire a city contractor to work on a project in a remote area.
- Overall state of the roof. As stated above, cracks, dents, and heavy weather damage on the roof mean the contractors have to do more work before the actual tile replacement can commence.
Since prices vary, shop around and get quotes from at least three qualified professionals before you settle on a contractor.
How Long Will It Take To Replace a Thatched Roof With Tiles?
It’ll take around 1-2 weeks to replace a thatched roof with tiles. The longevity of a roof replacement usually differs depending on the contractor’s methods and any peculiarities surrounding your thatched roof.
Most contractors will include an estimated project timeline in their bid to give you a rough idea of how long the project will likely take. Always add a couple more days to any quote you receive to account for unforeseen circumstances.
You’re free to change your thatched roof to tiles if you can afford the refurbishment costs. However, you need to weigh your options carefully as this is a significant refurbishment project bound to cost more than $15,000.
If you decide to go ahead with the project, be sure to choose a professional and highly experienced roofing company for the job.
- Modernize: 2021 Tile Roof Costs
- Historic England: Listed Buildings
- Quora: Can you change a thatched roof to tiles?
- Checkatrade: Thatched roof cost guide
- Hendricks Architecture: Thatch Roofing Today
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